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printed July 25, 2014
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Review: Samsung Galaxy S II for T-Mobile

Form Basics Extras Wrap-up Comments  5  

Is It Your Type? Body The Three S's  

The T-Mobile variant of the Galaxy S II packs more of everything, it seems. It has a larger display, faster radio, and faster processor than the AT&T version, and outclasses the Sprint version when it comes to raw power (i.e., the ability to handle games). It’s also heavier than the others, and feels much better in the hand. It’s noticeably denser, and the materials are slightly higher in quality. Rather than creaky plastics, the frame and components that make up the Galaxy S II's skin are solid and tightly assembled. It's still large, but will slip into pockets just fine thanks to its slim profile.

 

Click a thumbnail above for a larger view.

It doesn't look much different than the AT&T and Sprint variants, but we can say the same thing of pretty much every Galaxy S device released in the last 12 months. They are all spartan, obsidian slabs and the T-Mobile version of the Galaxy S II doesn't do anything to break that mold.

In terms of the controls of the device, they’re identical to other versions. The screen takes up most of the front face of the phone and there are four touch keys along the bottom for the basic Android controls. I didn't have any trouble with these keys.

The volume toggle is on the left side of the Galaxy S II, and I don't like it much. The toggle itself is loose, and wiggles around a bit. Travel and feedback isn't all that good, either. At least the toggle is easy to find.

The microUSB port is on the bottom of the device and the power/lock button is on the right side, close to the top of the phone. The power/lock button is far too small, given how often it is to be used. It offers the same crummy feel that the volume toggle does, and because the side edges of the Galaxy S II are slightly angled, I found it difficult to find and use.

The 3.5mm stereo headset jack is on the top edge of the phone, which is where I like it to be.

My favorite feature of the T-Mobile Galaxy S II is the battery cover. It’s completely different from the others. The plastic combines a soft-touch feel with a textured surface. The cover is also thicker, stronger, and of higher quality than the flimsy covers on the other variants. It feels like you're holding something from Batman's utility belt. It’s not a feature I'd normally get excited over, but this material is awesome.

With the cover peeled off, you can remove the battery, SIM card, and microSD card, each without disturbing the others. This is the way it should be; no need to pull one to get at the others.

With its denser build, stepped up materials, and overall feel, the T-Mobile Galaxy S II is my favorite of the bunch so far.

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